For a long while, the usual way of conceiving products was to create everything by hand, painstakingly carving out each curve and divet to minute detail, with no room for error and very slow product turnaround. Since then, times have changed drastically moving from factory production and then on to CNC machining.
Factory production came about during the industrial revolution when there was a huge boom in consumerism and the demand for production skyrocketed. During these times the labour demand was immense and many people would work extremely long, laborious hours operating factory machines to get the job done.
In comparison to hand made products, the factory machines were tremendous and allowed a far higher volume of products to be created in a fraction of the time. However, the labour cost was high, which limited the profit margin and meant that the capital-output was to be kept as low as possible, meaning that the quality would sometimes be sacrificed to push up the profit margin.
Another problem with the high labour demand was the effect on the workers. There was even a time where children were employed to work to get the products made in time to meet the demand, which actually let to legislation limiting such occurrences in order to protect the children. Even for adults, the long hours and strenuous work were intense and certainly not what one would consider best practice for employment.
Enter CNC machining; an invention which revolutionised the world of mass-production. No longer would laborious toil away over heavy machinery for hours upon hours – these machines could operate themselves! CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines cut out the middle man by operating through reading a computer legible code, known as G-code. This code is a way of translating a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) file into instructions which can be carried out by the CNC machine to ensure the desired design is created.
As well as hugely minimising the capital-output on labour, CNC machines also drastically reduce the likelihood of human error whilst maintaining repeatability and high quality in production. In addition to this, CNC machines can work with a vast range of metals, plastics and even wood. They come in a plethora of variations depending on the job with different tools and add ons which can be adapted as need be.
CNC machines can work on designs small enough to fit in the palm of your hand or large enough to require vehicular aid to move. You will be hard pushed to find a design that a CNC machine can’t manage, they truly are the future of the machining world.